Describe your collection.
I collect Doctor Who memorabilia, specifically items from the Tom Baker era of the series.
When and why did you start collecting?
I started collecting as a kid, around 5- or 6-years old. I was fascinated by the series; the thought that a person could travel through space and time in a box. I imagined I could walk into my wardrobe and go somewhere else. I started watching the show during the Tom Baker years, he completely drew me in. All the planets were aligned correctly.
How do you display and store your collection?
I have a room upstairs where I have my collection. I own books, VHS tapes, DVDs, figures, posters, toys, games, and costumes along with life-sized Daleks (one of them actually made by the BBC), a Tardis, K-9, and a Cyberman. I also have a life-sized Tom Baker figure with his iconic scarf and two glass display cabinets for my smaller figures. I have thousands of items.
What do you consider to be the Holy Grail of Doctor Who collectibles?
I’m not sure; that’s quite subjective.
There are two items that I really love: two oil portraits that used to hang in Tom Baker’s house. I found them for sale in a shop and just had to have them. They are quite special. They are both portraits of Baker; one in his Doctor Who costume and the other just of him. They may not be sought-after collectibles but they are certainly items I would grab in a fire. I’ve actually met Baker a number of times. I was introduced to him by a friend’s sister who knows him quite well. He invited me over to his home to have tea. During that first visit, he offered me a kitten because his cat had just had a litter. He also asked for my help in finding his wife a piano for her practice. He’s a wonderful, very kind and generous person.
My search for objects to add to my collection isn’t over. There are a couple of things I’m after: the Mission from Space notepad with Tom Baker’s image on the cover and a label printer in its original packaging. I already have the label printer itself but I’d love to get one with the packaging because it has Tom Baker on it. I really do have most other items.
What advice would you give to someone interested in starting a collection?
It’s a very personal thing. You just have to collect whatever lights your fire. With Doctor Who, there are a whole range of things to collect. I made the decision to specialize in Tom Baker-era collectibles because he was my introduction to the series. I also suggest buying within your price range and making sure any original props or costumes you buy have the provenance; you don’t want questionable items in your collection.
What resources do you use to acquire knowledge about the videotapes and connect with other collectors?
I’ve been into Doctor Who for so long that I pretty much have the expertise but there are books and guides, such as the one written by David Howe, that provide an excellent look at values. Collector groups on Facebook are great resources for sharing information. Many collectors offer items for sale on Facebook Groups before putting them up on eBay so joining a Group is also a nice way to add to your collection.
I miss the days of discovering collectibles in shops for the first time. With the internet, we generally know what is available to collect but there was a certain magic of discovering something you didn’t know existed while visiting a shop. The internet changed collecting completely.
A portion of Peter’s collection can be seen on the website richardwho.co.uk.
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